Friday, October 16, 2009

Microvision: PicoP Seduced and Engaged to LG Monaco aka LG Pico?

After three years of hard work, anxious wait for green lasers and sweating it each passing day, today’s announcement [on 10/8/2009] comes as a major milestone accomplished in the history of Microvision. The stakeholders in Microvision [investors, partners and consumers] can finally take comfort in today’s announcement as a milestone that…

“…validates the performance and quality of our first laser projector offering. On the heels of announcing our first shipments of the SHOWwx laser pico projector, and receiving the purchase order from an international distributor, this is another significant milestone in our go-to-market strategy.” ... Alex Tokman, CEO of Microvision.

It is interesting to read how Microvision management perceives the significance of today’s announcement themselves. Here’s what Matt Nichols, Microvision corporate spokesperson, said in his post at the company’s blog The Displayland…

“…we launched, we started initial shipments, we have the SHOWWX brand and now (tada!) an OEM private label brand accessory laser pico projector. This has been a fun few weeks.”

Yes, Matt we agree with you and hope you are enjoying your day [our day] in the sun for a change.

Here’s the link to Matt’s post at The Displayland…

That’s all well and good; however, it is frustrating, again, to note that the Microvision management withheld the names of the two companies involved in releasing the initial purchase orders. So we grabbed our “trench coats” and went sleuthing to unravel the identity of the mysterious “global consumer electronics OEM” who also happens to be “targeting a new mobile communication device strategy”.

Without further ado, here’s what we found… thinking loud of course…

“Upon further research, the 'global consumer electronics OEM' that is mentioned in today’s news is not Sony as I previously thought… but it is in all probability LG Electronics of Korea with facilities and offices worldwide."

Some may still argue that it could be Sony, Motorola, or Apple. However, when you read again the statement made by Alex Tokman, CEO of Microvision, you could draw only two conclusions… it is either Sony or LG Electronics. The argument in favor of Sony, as presented before, is pretty strong and deserves re-stating…

“Having a global consumer electronics player, which is targeting a new mobile communication device strategy, attach their name to our product strongly validates the performance and quality of our first laser projector offering.”

Having said that, the only two companies that fit the bill, as a global consumer electronics player that are also targeting a new mobile communications device strategy... is SONY… or perhaps LG Electronics from Korea. In my previous post, I eliminated LG Electronics as the other possibility, considering how strongly Alex Tokman felt about Korean companies that are notorious for copy-cats and getting around patent infringement. Well, may be they have patch-up their differences and made-up.

Here’s some more information in support of LG Electronics as the OEM from today’s news…

• LG Electronics is the world’s third largest mobile phone handset manufacturer with 100 million units sold in 2008. The second being Samsung with 200 million and Nokia in first place with 470million units sold.

• Perhaps the most interesting mover of mobile phone manufacturers in 2008 was LG Electronics. This ever growing popular handset provider had a significant 25% growth spurt in 2008 by selling around 100 million units. LG were followed closely by Motorola with 99.9 million and Sony Ericsson with a moderate 96.6 million.

• In June of this year, LG said it wants to become the world's No. 2 handset maker by 2010 (the company in the second quarter ranked third, with 11.2 percent of the global market, behind Samsung's 19.7 percent, according to iSuppli). LG said it would release about 80 handset models globally in 2009, and 12 would be high-end models.

Read more:

• Worldwide mobile phone sales totalled 286.1 million units in the second quarter of 2009, a 6.1 per cent decrease from the second quarter of 2008, according to Gartner, Inc. Smartphone sales surpassed 40 million units, a 27 per cent increase from the same period last year, representing the fastest-growing segment of the mobile-devices market (see Table 2).

Read more:

• LG Electronics announced plans to release three new Windows Mobile devices, which is the start of what it called its "most aggressive smartphone strategy to date." That aggressive strategy includes the release of 13 new Windows Mobile phones by the end of 2010. Read more:

• On May 26th, engadget wrote an article about a high end Smartphone code named “LG Monaco” aka “LG Pico” based on WinMo 7 operating system and to be released before the end of 2009.

This is what engadget had to say…

“… everything else here would work (and look) great as a next-gen device -- and the accessory projector's a pretty nifty selling point, too.”

Here’s the link…

If you look at the inside of the datasheet [at the right hand bottom] you will see “Other: Pico Projector (Accessory)”.  Interesting, don’t you think!

• Daily Gadget News picked-up on the story and wrote this…

“Another news of the future LG smartphone for AT&T is leaked. The LG Monaco aka LG Pico is a Windows Mobile smartphone which presumably rund Windows Mobile 7 OS. LG Monaco packs a 3.2 inch touchscreen display with 480 x 800 pixels as well as qwerty keyboard.

For connectivity, LG Monaco support Quad band GSM and tri-band HSDPA connectivity. Its 5MP camera is equipped with autofocus feature. No words on its internal memory but Monaco has a Micro SDHC card slot to expand (up to 16GB). Other features including a GPS and pico-projector. Its release date is expected to be sometime in September 2009 although we’re not sure weather the WinMo 7 will be ready at that time.”

Here’s the link…

Well, so much for the research… now we get to write the conclusion.

In conclusion...

"The timing of Microvision’s PicoP projector SHOWwx released to the OEM coincides with the readiness of WinMo 7 and the commercial release of the LG Monaco aka LG Pico.  LG Electronics is a global consumer electronics player, which is targeting a new mobile communication device strategy."

Also the code name "LG Pico" is not by chance… it is, in my opinion, by design.

Like, as “Image by PicoP” in the future embedded version of LG Monaco.

Or shall we just call it… LG PicoP!

Anant Goel